Disemployment caused by Foreign Direct Investment? Multinationals and Japanese employment
Kozo Kiyota 27 November 2014
A major concern with multinationals is that they can cause disemployment (also called job offshoring). However, FDI could offset or even exceed such a negative effect. This column examines to what extent disemployment in Japan is related to FDI. The results suggest that disemployment in Japan is driven by substitution between capital and labour, rather than the reallocation of labour caused by FDI.
With the growing activities of multinationals, one of the major concerns for policymakers in developed countries is the disemployment caused by multinationals, especially in the manufacturing sector. For example, increased competition with foreign countries forces firms to relocate their production sites overseas, which results in disemployment in the home country. In particular, the decline in manufacturing jobs is believed to have been the consequence of globalisation.
Labour markets Productivity and Innovation
Japan, disemployment, FDI, manufacturing
Regional wage differentials in the public sector
Masayuki Morikawa 23 November 2014
The appropriate level of public sector wages is debated frequently in every country, and the debate has intensified in the wake of the global financial crisis. This column presents evidence that regional wage differentials in Japan are greater in the private sector than in the public sector. In regions where public sector wages are relatively high, skilled individuals may self-select into public sector jobs. At the same time, public sector employers in metropolitan regions such as Tokyo may have difficulty in hiring high quality employees.
After the global financial crisis, some European countries reduced their public sector wages to ensure fiscal sustainability. In Japan, after the Great East Japan Earthquake, the wages of the central government officials were cut for two years to finance the reconstruction expenses. Even in normal times, the appropriate level of public sector wages is debated frequently in every country. Because wages are an important incentive for workers, appropriate wage levels and their structure in the public sector are essential for ensuring the quality and efficiency of public services.
fiscal sustainability, global crisis, Public sector wages, public-sector pay, Public sector, private sector, Great East Japan Earthquake, Japan, Europe, agglomeration, spatial equilibrium, wages, wage premia, regional wage differentials
Adverse selection and moral hazard in the Japanese public credit guarantee schemes for SMEs
Kuniyoshi Saito, Daisuke Tsuruta 14 November 2014
In Japan, loans with 100% guarantees account for more than half of all loans covered by public credit guarantee schemes, but banks claim that they do not offer loans without sufficient screening and monitoring even if the loans are guaranteed. This column presents evidence of adverse selection and moral hazard in Japanese credit guarantee schemes. The problem is less severe for loans with 80% guarantees.
Credit rationing caused by capital market imperfections is widely seen as an important phenomenon in the loan market, especially for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Among various ways of alleviating the problem, credit guarantee schemes are one of the most important policy tools in many countries. An economic rationale for such public intervention is that it can enhance efficiency by providing additional funds for SMEs that are in fact healthy but unable to secure enough loans because of the informational gap between lenders and borrowers.
credit rationing, SMEs, credit, public guarantees, Japan, capital markets, asymmetric information, moral hazard, adverse selection, loan guarantees, insurance
Innovation in community economic development in a declining population era
Ryohei Nakamura 01 October 2014
Many Japanese municipalities found recent population predictions for the next 30 years rather alarming. Unfortunately, most of them do not have an effective solution to the declining population problem. This column discusses different strategies that could ignite innovation and stimulate the growth of the population. Bringing in new business, identifying their comparative advantage, and stimulating community innovation could make municipalities attractive places to settle down.
Declining rural areas
Municipality population projections for 30 years from now by the Japan Policy Council made big headlines on 9 May 2014, not only in national but also in local newspapers across the country. The Council’s alarming predictions – such as “the number of women in their 20s and 30s will decrease by half in half of the municipalities”, “the population will fall below 10,000 in 523 municipalities”, and “some municipalities will cease to exist” – drew the attention of the local media.
Productivity and Innovation
Japan, declining rural population, community development, Sustainability, comparative advantage
Does initial job status affect midlife outcomes and mental health? Evidence from a survey in Japan
Takashi Oshio, Seiichi Inagaki 26 September 2014
Starting one’s working life in an irregular job can lead to a fruitful career or to long-term stagnation. While studies of European labour markets support the stepping-stone hypothesis, this column presents evidence that irregular jobs lead to negative midlife outcomes in Japan. Future jobs are less stable, pay less, and psychological distress is higher. Such problems suggest a role for policy to reduce economic and social disadvantages of non-regular workers.
Does starting working life with non-regular jobs decrease the odds of success in later life? There has been debate about the long-term consequences of flexible market entry across European countries (Scherer 2004, 2005). On the one hand, the entrapment scenario argues that once an individual begins his or her working life with a non-regular job – such as one with fixed-term contracts – entrapment in such jobs is inevitable.
non-regular workers, Japan, Dualism
Unstash the cash! Corporate governance reform in Japan
Chie Aoyagi, Giovanni Ganelli 19 August 2014
Japanese corporations hold a very high level of cash on their balance sheets compared to those in other advanced countries. Such excessive corporate savings are likely to be holding back growth by preventing a more efficient use of resources. This column presents recent research showing that improving corporate governance would help unlock Japan’s corporate savings, exit deflation, and revive growth. Comprehensive corporate governance reform should be a key component of Japan’s growth strategy.
Cash holdings by Japanese companies are very high compared to other G7 countries. As it can be seen in Figure 1, the average ratio of cash and cash equivalent holdings to market capitalisation of Japanese listed companies during 2004-2012 was above 40%, compared to values in the 15-27% range in other G7 countries. Such high cash holdings coexist with a negative contribution of private investment to growth in the last few years and with falling real wages in the face of positive labour productivity growth for most of the last two decades.
Industrial organisation Microeconomic regulation
Japan, corporate governance, cash holdings
Secular stagnation: Facts, causes, and cures – a new Vox eBook
Coen Teulings, Richard Baldwin 10 September 2014
The CEPR Press eBook on secular stagnation has been viewed over 80,000 times since it was published on 15 August 2014. The PDF remains freely downloadable, but as the European debate on secular stagnation is moving into policy circles, we decided to also make it a Kindle book. This is available from Amazon; all proceeds will help defray VoxEU expenses.
Teaser from original column posted on 15 August 2014
Six years after the Crisis and the recovery is still anaemic despite years of zero interest rates. Is ‘secular stagnation’ to blame? This column introduces an eBook that gathers the views of leading economists including Summers, Krugman, Gordon, Blanchard, Koo, Eichengreen, Caballero, Glaeser, and a dozen others. It is too early to tell whether secular stagnation is really secular, but if it is, current policy tools will be obsolete. Policymakers should start thinking about potential solutions.
Global crisis Macroeconomic policy Monetary policy
interest rates, US, Europe, Japan, investment, macroeconomics, Great Recession, zero lower bound, savings, secular stagnation, SecStag debate
Natural disasters, firm activity, and damage to banks
Kaoru Hosono, Daisuke Miyakawa 13 August 2014
Natural disasters affect firm activities both directly and indirectly. One prominent indirect effect is on firms’ transaction partners, in particular – their banks. This column shows how damage to banks affects firm activities, such as capital investment and exports, using as a natural experiment Japan’s 1995 Kobe earthquake. Bank damage has a significant and negative impact on both firm investment and on exports but this effect does not last very long.
Direct and indirect impacts of natural disasters
Environment Global economy Industrial organisation
Japan, bank lending, natural disaster, earthquakes, firm activity
Identifying and quantifying monetary policy transmission through bank balance sheets
Kaoru Hosono, Daisuke Miyakawa 09 August 2014
In the wake of the Global Crisis, several central banks have adopted unconventional monetary policies. This column presents new evidence from Japan on the transmission of monetary policy through banks’ balance sheets. Overall, the evidence suggests that bank net worth affects loan supply, that the effect depends on monetary policy and economic growth, and that this bank balance sheet channel has a significant impact on firms’ financing and investment. Exiting from unconventional monetary policies when bank balance sheets are weak could thus have a severe adverse impact on investment.
How does monetary policy affect firm activities? While there is long-standing literature on this issue, the transmission mechanism of monetary policy is currently attracting renewed attention. The reason is that many central banks – including the US Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, the ECB, and the Bank of Japan – have introduced unconventional monetary policies such as quantitative easing and credit easing in the wake of the Global Crisis, and sooner or later will have to exit from these policies.
Financial markets Global crisis Monetary policy
monetary policy, Japan, global crisis, quantitative easing, unconventional monetary policy, balance sheets, financial accelerator, credit easing, bank lending channel
Protection of intellectual property to foster innovations in the service sector
Masayuki Morikawa 20 July 2014
Innovation is a key driver of productivity growth, but innovation in the service sector has received relatively little attention. This column shows that the total factor productivity gap between Japanese firms with and without innovations is larger in services than in manufacturing. Whereas the percentage of firms holding patents is much higher in manufacturing than in services, trade secrets are just as important in both sectors. These results suggest that the protection of trade secrets makes an important contribution to productivity growth.
Given the declining labour force due to population ageing, accelerating the productivity growth of industries – especially the service industries – is an important element of the growth strategy in Japan and most advanced countries. While there are a variety of factors affecting productivity, innovation is one of the key determinants of productivity growth. However, innovation in the service sector has not been studied well. I present findings on innovation in the service sector by focusing on the effect of intellectual property rights on innovation.
Productivity and Innovation
R&D, growth, productivity, patents, Japan, innovation, services, intellectual property, trade secrets